A blog about miniatures, wargaming, and the people driven to ruin by them....

Friday, April 26, 2013

Shipwreck! Perils of the Yellow Sea


This past week I finally had a chance to participate in a game of Shipwreck! We used our 1:3000 NavWar moderns.

My nefarious running dog capitalist opponent and I agreed to basically game a stand up fight to work through most of the game mechanics by placing a DD and FF from both my PLAN forces and his USN forces.  We recognized that the USN ships would hold significant advantages, but as a play test this should not matter.

Here are my Luda DDG and Jiangwei Ty I FFG, with Dauphin helo launched....

Here are the hated USN Arleigh Burke and O H Perry, with Seahawk helo launched...

On the 2nd turn the helos race towards the opposing fleets as we begin to attempt detections on each other.  You can see the USN ships at the top of the image.

My PLAN helo was able to detect the Burke, while the Seahawk detected my Luda.  We proceeded to the firing phase of combat, the USN launched Harpoons, and the PLAN... did nothing.... as I had totally disregarded firing arcs.  The only weapons positioned to fire were forward guns, woefully out of range, so I had to sit and wait.

We went through the process of detecting the incoming missiles.  I learned some things here.  I had crowded the Jiangwei close to the Luda for overlapping defensive AA fire... but, as the rule states, you can not fire on incoming threats at VS range from non-target ships... my weapons in arc were only good at VS range and could do nothing.  Chaff sent one Harpoon into the sea, and another missed, but that left 2 Harpoons to impact the Luda with expected results...

 A crippled Luda dead in the water :)

In the next turn I paid attention to arcs, and moved the Jiangwei into a firing position, but failed in my detections of the USN vessels, but the USN detected the Jiangwei easily enough.  Both of us kept our helos (the USN had 2 in the air now) out of enemy AA range.

(you can see that I need to work on the playing area, I used a scrap blue vinyl sheet, I will need something better and not cut up)

We used scraps of paper to indicate the missile volleys, but will work on counters... perhaps something more attractive than the paer scraps :)

Ah, look, flights of Harpoons....

This time around, an alerted and more properly positioned Jiangwei managed to shoot down one Harpoon, but the chaff failed to disorient any of the incoming missiles.  The Jiangwei suffered impacts...

...and was rapidly sunk.

With the Luda dead in the water waiting to sink, and the Jiangwei already sunk, and no damage to the USN, we decided to call it a "marginal" USN victory :)

It underscored how important the EW ratings are for ships, and the effectiveness of the individual weapons (especially having multiple launcer weapon systems!).  As a game follow up, we "allowed" the PLAN ships to fire weapons at the USN, so that they could practice the defensive actions.  The Burke had little trouble defending itself, but the Perry ran into trouble with weapons bearing that could not affect a Chinese sea skimming attack... which left the Perry crippled in the water.  I think the PLAN got lucky there.... we could launch far fewer weapons per action than the USN ships, and overall much reduced accuracy.  The hits were still effective, though.

Many lessons here.  Still some questions.  Overall, this was a positive experience... the game was short, quick resolutions at all stages, and an accurate result.  These ships meeting under these circumstances should result in a badly mauled pair of PLAN vessels.

We will continue to game some play test scenarios as we incorporate submarines and jet aircraft.  I hope to post some of those in the upcoming months... and I will try to consolidate my questions for more experienced players.


  1. Nice battle report sir, looks like you had a fun two games. You'll get those sneaky capitalist next time comrade.

    How did you fine the combat turn sequences sounds like it ran very smoothly for you? Have you seen the alternative rules on the publisher's website? There are some interesting tweaks that let ships move slightly during a combat turn depending on the range of the missile, I've played using these rules and liked them.

    Looking forward to seeing a game with subs and aircraft :) I will be interested to hear how you use the aircraft rules as I'm sure I'm doing something wrong especially with CAP.

    1. Howdie. Had some trouble replying earlier...

      The combat sequence ran fairly smoothly (after all, we only had 2 ships per side, and limited weapon systems to manage)... but I am not sure we did everything exactly right. If we had more ships, with more systems firing at once, it might have been harder to manage. Bottom line, it was pretty easy to do, and it went quickly. I liked the detail of Harpoon, but hated playing it.

      I will look for the tweaks you mentioned... and I will be sure to post the sub and aircraft games (my USN opponent is very threatened by my Ming subs, ha ha).

  2. Hi! You might want to look at Shapeways, to get yourself some of the more modern Chinese ships. I ran a Taiwan vs China game at Little Wars recently.

    It was double blind, and a lot of fun. I had 4 modern Chinese ships from Shapeways, and all the merchants were from there as well.

  3. Howdie. Several people recommended Shapeways, I have looked at them, and at some point I plan on getting a few of the newest ships... but I am ok with the stuff I have as most of it is still in inventory, still sailing, and therefore still usable. I looked at the Taiwanese inventory... that is always a possibility too.

  4. And I will confess to having a PLAN and an Indian force on the painting queue for the near future so I'm interested in your battle reports and your feelings about Shipwreck!